NAPLAN – writing test

Students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are provided with a ‘writing stimulus’ or ‘prompt’ – an idea or topic – and asked to write a response of a particular text type (genre).Students sitting NAPLAN are tested on either narrative or persuasive writing.

Students are taught to write a variety of different text types. There are three main groups of text types, sometimes called genres. These are imaginative (including narrative), information and argument (also known as persuasive).

Imaginative texts are texts that involve the use of language to represent, recreate, shape and explore human experiences in real and imagined worlds. They are also referred to as sub-genres and include, for example, fairy tales, anecdotes, novels, plays, poetry, personal letters and illustrated books.

Information texts are texts that involve the use of language to represent ideas and information related to people, places, events, things, concepts and issues. They include, for example, recounts, reports, descriptions, biographies, explanations, transactional texts, news articles and features.

Argument texts are texts that systematically present a point of view or seek to persuade an audience. They include, for example, arguments, expositions, discussions, and letters to the editor, debates, reviews and advertisements.

No. There will be one writing task for Year 3 and 5 students, and another task for Year 7 and 9 students.

Even though two tasks will be used, all students’ responses will be marked with the same marking guide. This is possible because the marking guides used to assess NAPLAN writing are not task specific and have been developed to assess writing produced by students from Years 3 to Year 9.

Yes, the genre of the writing task is the same for all year levels.

Since 2014, when the persuasive task was added, the genre for the writing test has not been disclosed prior to the test period.

There is an equal possibility that the writing test will require students to write a response in the narrative or the persuasive genre. Students do not get a choice of genre.

The best preparation for all NAPLAN tests is for teachers to teach what is required in the curriculum. In relation to writing, the curriculum requires students to learn about imaginative, informative and persuasive texts. Through these types of texts students learn to write to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue.

School students and the community can visit the public demonstration site to become familiar with the question types and format of the online tests, and the editing tools that will be available to them in the online writing test.

Yes. The purpose of the writing prompt is to provide students the opportunity to demonstrate their best writing in the genre being tested.

The marking guides are developed to assess writing regardless of the topic. The two writing tasks will still be marked using a common marking guide and results will still be reported on the same scale. This means the results will be able to be compared across the year levels as well as across other test cycles where the same writing scale has been used.

A persuasive text is any text where the main purpose is to persuade a reader to accept a particular point of view. Persuasive text types include, for example, arguments, expositions, discussions, and letters to the editor, debates, reviews and advertisements. For more information about persuasive writing, visit Writing - Persuasive writing.

Persuasive writing prompt from NAPLAN 2012 (for all year levels):

Narrative writing tells a story. The main purpose of a narrative is to entertain a reader. Stories can also contain a universal theme or moral, or teach a reader a lesson. Narrative text types include, for example, short stories, fairytales, fables and myths. For more information about narrative writing, visit Writing - Narrative writing.

Narrative writing prompt from NAPLAN 2016 (for Years 7 and 9):

The test prompt will provide students with a topic about which they must write. It may provide some images to assist students to develop ideas. Alternatively the prompt may provide only textual support.

To give you an idea of the formats that prompts may take, you can download the following example test prompts: 

Persuasive writing is marked in a way that closely parallels the marking of narrative writing. Assessment rubrics for both narrative and persuasive writing include common criteria. Nine of the 10 criteria assessed in both the persuasive and narrative marking guides are common. However, each rubric presents those criteria differently, according to how that feature is used in the text type being assessed.

Persuasive writing and narrative writing also have one criterion that is unique to each form. Persuasive writing assesses persuasive devices whilst narrative writing assesses the development of character and setting. The key focus skills for both rubrics are available for comparison in the Writing section.

Students in Year 5, 7 and 9 attending schools that participate in NAPLAN Online will undertake all NAPLAN tests online. Year 3 students attending schools that participate in NAPLAN Online will complete the writing test on paper. These students will complete all other tests online.

The Public demonstration site allows students to become familiar with the writing panel and editing tools that will be available in the writing test.

Yes. Throughout the test, students will be able to draft their responses and ideas on a separate piece of paper.

NAPLAN assesses skills in literacy and numeracy that are developed over time through the school curriculum. Teachers can ensure that students are familiar with the test format and provide appropriate support and guidance. School students and the community can visit the public demonstration site to become familiar with the question types and format of the online tests, and the editing tools that will be available to them in the online writing test.

As is currently the case for NAPLAN, adjustments are provided for students with disability, including assistive technology, with the approval from the test administration authority. Learn more about adjustments in the National protocols for test administration.

Scribes are used for the NAPLAN writing test only. Scribes are only appropriate for students with disability who use a scribe for regular classroom assessment.

NAPLAN support persons assist students with disability with the NAPLAN reading, language conventions and numeracy tests. Details on the difference between a scribe and a NAPLAN support person, including more information on what they can do and who can fulfil this role, are available in the National protocols for test administration.

No. Scribes are only appropriate for students with disability who use a scribe for regular classroom assessment and for the writing test only. Students with temporary injuries may qualify for a scribe in some circumstances (see next FAQ).

For the writing test, students with temporary injuries such as a broken arm will not normally be permitted to use a scribe. Students with a temporary injury may qualify to use a scribe if they have been using a scribe in their regular classroom assessments. This ensures that the student is not disadvantaged on NAPLAN testing days by introducing a new process for them.

If your child has not been using a scribe in their classroom, but has been using other adjustments such as a computer, they may access these other adjustments for the writing test. You should discuss the adjustments that may be available with your child’s teacher. More information on adjustments can be found on the Disability adjustments scenarios page of the NAP website.

For the reading, language conventions and numeracy tests, students with temporary injuries may qualify to use a NAPLAN support person. A NAPLAN support person is different to a scribe. The different roles of a scribe and a NAPLAN support person are set out in the National protocols for test administration.